Leigh Bardugo Event

 

Hey everyone so on October 25th I went to Leigh Bardugo’s talk in Edinburgh and I am so glad I did.

Yay for @Clo for talking me into it!

My husband was supposed to come with me, not for moral support but so I could use him to get two more books signed, and so he could finally see what his wife does when she’s off with her notepad to an author event. And also because Leigh Bardugo is amazing, but, we all knew this.

So onto the event!

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[I have no clue who that couple is and I am so sorry they got randomly photographed, but it was either that or more of that guy’s face to my left and that felt somehow more awkward.]

So that’s how close to the stage I was! That actually worked violently against me, but more about that later.

I’m sure you’re wondering, hey where is Leigh Bardugo in that photo? But I have to admit I try to not photograph or video when the authors are talking, mostly because I find it more polite for me personally and also because I’m too busy writing down things they say….more that than the ‘manners’ thing lolol. [I’m not at all bothered or like annoyed when others video or photograph, it’s not really any of my business, I just like to keep my focus since I’m easily distracted]

It was a nice surprise for me that Kristy Logan was the chair-person of this event, she’s so sweet and she genuinely seems interested in every aspect she asks about so it’s always a nice surprise!

I’d never seen Leigh Bardugo ‘live’ before so I was freakin’ thrilled when it turns out she’s absolutely hilarious.

Seriously, I’ve never laughed so hard at a bookish event. [I try very hard to be stoic and quiet and invisible. Jk on the stoic.]

They discussed SO MUCH.

And probably my favorite thing to come of it was Bardugo’s term ‘Goth Adjacent’ and we all now agree there should be a goth housing suburb, and I’m probably going to join her cult that she’ll inevitably make someday.

Interesting topics that they spoke of was the fact that once you’ve hit her level of renown as an author, it’s a question of is their a public voice?

Logan asks ‘has your voice changed for a public face?’

And Bardugo gives a pretty great answer, ‘The Process has changed [shut out world to write and now that’s more difficult].’

This is a great point, if your writing process, which I know for me is similar in that I shut out the world, is a bit of isolation, it’s so much harder when you’re as well known as Bardugo. She definitely has to take social media breaks and talks about how the fact that once you ‘hit it big’ sometimes it can result in being afraid of what you write as in being worried and playing it ‘safe’ a bit and ‘scared artists make bad art.’ And let’s face it, that’s true for all artists, we hear musicians who don’t take the leap they want with their music and sometimes that means they lose that magic we loved before because they’ve become afraid. So the same applies to all artists.

Of course this talk was also a way for us all to rejoice in Bardugo’s latest book, her first adult work, ‘Ninth House.’

The writing process for ‘Ninth House’ was a little different in that Bardugo had to face her memories from when she went to Yale, to see the reality and not just the good memories she’d carried with her.

I know I definitely keep hold of more of my good memories from Uni, and that if I were to look harder I would then suddenly recall all the not so fun memories too lol so I think it’s easy to be guilty of that.

Going on, Bardugo says that though this is a work of fantasy that the trauma in it, the monsters in it can be real and I have to say this gave me a lot of pause. Because it’s so true, aren’t the best fantasies the ones that we know have this kernel of truth, when the monsters are too plausible in their actions and minds? I mean we love the escapism but, the trauma and pain are still real, just in different ways. And I love that Bardugo does not use magic to ‘cure all’ this is another part that makes it more ‘real’ for me, when characters with flaws or differences keep those because not everything should be easily wiped away by magic, no matter your world building. If you take away the trauma your characters went through, they become a little less real, in my opinion. It takes away their growth in a way.

So, we got some heavy talks in between the laughter and cult making plans. Oh and of course talking about Ben Barnes. -Swoons-

Overall this was a great talk to go to and if she’s ever in Scotland again, I’ll definitely be going to see her!

Afterwards, when we all lined up for the signing, chaos ensued. I was on the side where the line was going to form and I was suddenly stuck, unable to get out lol, in the end, I was at the end of the line. Which normally wouldn’t have been a problem but I did miss my train…BUT in the end I met some amazing people and I was glad enough to have ended up where I did. Some great fellow readers that I thoroughly enjoyed talking with, and of course, getting the chance to say hello to Leigh and have her sign my edition of ‘Ninth House.’

Anyone else go to see her? Are you all joining the cult too?

The Devil Upstairs – Blog Tour

 

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Synopsis:
Rosemary’s Baby meets Ambrose Parry’s The Way of All Flesh in this macabre thriller – a devilishly brilliant allegory set in modern-day Edinburgh by the author of the highly acclaimed Dr Jekyll & Mr. Seek.
Cat Thomas relocates to Edinburgh, fleeing death threats related to her job as a fraud investigator in Florida. Her 18th-century Dean Village flat is utterly idyllic except for one thing…the devil upstairs.
Cat lies awake, delirious from lack of sleep, dreaming of ways in which to get rid of the utterly inconsiderate neighbour who keeps her awake every night with loud music and wild parties. Desperate for a solution she joins a work friend at a witches’ conclave and is blissfully surprised when the noise suddenly stops. 
But when the devil upstairs is found dead and Cat’s seemingly perfect man arrives in his place, the problems she thought were solved come back to haunt her in new and unexpected ways.
Impeccably plotted, intricately nuanced and shot through with darkly wicked humour, The Devil Upstairs perfectly captures the shadowy beauty and mystery of Edinburgh’s architecture, atmosphere and history, gibing literary voice to its world-renowned status as a “haunted” city.
Book Information:
By: Anthony O’Neill
Publication Date: 5th September 2019
Published by: Black&White Publishing
GoodReads

 

My Review

The dark humour in this was perfection. This is the sort of horror I want, dark and wicked and full of brilliantly timed humour and equal parts terrifying. Cat was not the most lovable protagonist and that’s what makes this book so humorous, you understand where she’s coming from, we’ve all probably had a noisy neighbour or two and have wanted to just shut them up, but her situation also made me chuckle.

I couldn’t imagine being as patient as Cat and I loved that she always tried to think things through, even when she was close to snapping with her horrible neighbour, she was all sense and respectability in a lot of ways.

But even a saint has their breaking point and though this shouldn’t be taken as a honest look into witches -or their pagan faith- this should be taken as a hilarious twist to a witches’ conclave set in the perfect atmosphere of Scotland. Also, satanism wasn’t portrayed as stereotypically as one might think when hearing a horror book contains it. That impressed me.

[I may also be the smallest bit biased in loving most books set in Edinburgh.]

It’s spooky and scary though too, not just humor. You do begin to feel for Cat, you sense she’s running out of time and she’s no closer to saving herself. So can Cat be saved? And what does she need saving from?

The ending was another point of perfection for me and answers all questions necessary to feel closure but still left a lot open to the imagination, striking the perfect balance.

If you’re looking for a thrillingly spooky fall read in time for Halloween, this is another recommendation from me! Four big cups of coffee from this reader.

Thank you to BW publishing for a copy of this in exchange for my honest opinion as part of the tour.

 

About the Author

Anthony O’Neill was born in Melbourne and lives in Edinburgh. He is the author of Dr Jekyll & Mr Seek, his sequel to Dr Jekyll & Mr Hyde; Scheherazade, an Arabian Nights homage; The Lamplighter, a psychological horror; The Empire of Eternity, a history-mystery involving Napoleon and Egyptology; The Unscratchables, a satire featuring dog and cat detectives; and The Dark Side, a crime novel set on the far side of the moon. Film rights to The Dark Side have been sold to 20th Century Fox.

 

The Rest of the Tour ScheduleDevil_blog tour tile

 

A Superior Spectre – Blog Tour

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Blurb:
“A brilliant, deeply unsettling work.” Books + Publishing
Jeff is dying. Haunted by memories and grappling with shame, he runs away to a remote part of Scotland with a piece of beta tech that allows him to enter the mind of someone in the past. Instructed to only use it three times, Jeff – self-indulgent, isolated and deteriorating – ignores this advice.
In the late 1860s, Leonora lives in the Scottish Highlands, surrounded by nature. Contemplating the social conventions that bind her, her contented life and a secret romantic friendship with the local laird are interrupted when her father sends her to stay with her aunt in Edinburgh. But Leonora’s ability to embrace her new life is shadowed by a dark presence that begins to lurk behind her eyes, and strange visions.
A Superior Spectre is a novel about curiosity, entitlement and manipulation. It reminds us that the scariest ghosts aren’t the ones that go bump in the night, but those that are born and create a place for themselves in the human soul.

Book Information:
By: Angela Meyer
Published by: Saraband Books
Publication Date: August 15, 2019
Price: £8.99
GoodReads

Where to Buy

Amazon UK

 

My Review

Content/Trigger Warnings: [My apologies on slacking on these lately] This has molestation & child molestation, abuse, thoughts of pedophilia, death and brief suicidal thoughts and a rough view of mental illnesses due to institutional care available in the Victorian era.

This is a book that is chilling and haunting in the most unexpected ways. Firstly it’s truly a blend of genres. It is a sci-fi yet also a historical fiction, and at the same time a horror/thriller in its own right. And while this may sound like a mess, it’s done SO well that it doesn’t feel like they’re all jumbled together.

Please bear in mind this is quite a heavy read due to its content but it’s actual length is not.

The two protagonists are completely different and though there’s not much to like about Jeff, it is possible to see why he has dipped into Leonora’s mind repeatedly.

Leonora is certainly the more sympathetic of the two characters, an unwilling host to a man whose thoughts have no place in her mind. She’s a woman who has loved animals and had a curiosity of sciences and anatomy, a woman that like many during her time, were ‘progressive’ in their wants knowledge. Still, she enjoys the simple life she’s had at her Father’s home and though Edinburgh has some interesting aspects, it’s still home she yearns for.

With everything she goes through, you truly want her to be free in every sense of the word, from Jeff, from expectations, from her family’s desires, and it’s her that I cheered for while reading.

The difficult premise though was put in a tasteful manner, because, unfortunately people like Jeff [and people much worse than Jeff] are a reality. I thought his story’s ending was completely fitting for him, and I didn’t hate him, but I certainly had a hard time sympathizing with him. That being said, the choices he made were in attempt to be something different than what he was and that was something to think about.

One of my favorite things Meyer did was to make this a spine tingling read, you felt like there was something always just out of sight, and it’s the sort of tension I like in a ‘scarier’ book.

A great read, but again, a heavy one. I give it four cups of coffee and if you think you can handle the premise, I recommend it, especially with October approaching if you want a spooky read.

Thank you to the publisher for a copy of this in exchange for an honest review

 

About the Author

 

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Angela Meyer’s Joan Smokes won the inaugural Mslexia Novella Competition in 2019. Her short fiction has been widely published, including in Best Australian Stories, Island, The Big Issue, The Australian, The Lifted Brow and Killings. By day she works as a publisher for Echo Publishing, an Australian imprint of Bonnier Books UK, and in this role has discovered and developed a range of award-winning, globally published and bestselling talent, including global number one bestselling author Heather Morris. A Superior Spectre, Angela’s debut novel, is already shortlisted for a number of prestigious awards.

 

The Rest of the Tour

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Cymera #1

Hey guys!

So, Cymera was awesome! I was pretty brief in my appearance, I went on Saturday to my two events and had to rush off to meet up with my friend who had so kindly went about on her own in Edinburgh -her first time too- as she knew I was super excited about this festival.

Let me just say this was a delightful experience and there was so much that I took away in the short span of time of my attendance.

First off everyone was so nice and helpful and friendly! I mean everyone! From volunteers, to writers, to fellow regular/blogger attendees, to the amazing authors! So thank you so much to those who put so much work and effort into Cymera Festival and I can’t wait for the next one.

The small setting was perfect, you really got to feel a sort of intimacy between the other attendees, yourself, and the authors and their wonderful chair peeps! I could not say enough good things!

The only complaint I have is with the weather, Edinburgh, you let me down lolol, thankfully I come prepared for our typical summer/spring showers and my books were safely wrapped up in my backpack to avoid getting damaged.

Instead of just giving you all a run down, I really want to delve into what the authors were talking about and the questions brought forth to them as they would make some excellent conversation posts for us all!

I am trying to give you a small summary for now though as you can see by my gushing about the festival and the lament of the weather. I was well prepared for it as said though, and I was really thankful that there was a Blackwell’s bookshop open. I brought my own books but I still ended up coming home with a couple.

There were readings by well known and emerging authors, there was gathering, there was coffee [alas the line was too long and this well known caffeinated reader was without caffeine] and there were books. What more could a reader ask for?

Well my first discussion piece will be on Thursday, and we’re going to take a look at what our authors and chair speaker Lesley Glaister, Eris Young, and Alexandra Christo had to say about mythical creatures.

But more importantly, we’re going to see how they view the categorization of monsters and creatures and how they differentiate from humans, and what makes humans..human? Why do we call it humanity and is it possible for a monster to be more human than one of us?

Find out Thursday!!

 

 

Cymera Coming Up!

If you all remember I signed up to volunteer for Cymera Festival in Edinburgh, I didn’t get a chance to this year -hopefully, I will next year!- but I am still attending!

This picture is their logo, I had nothing to do with it, please no one sue me!

Who am I going to see?

Mythical Creatures With…

I’m going to see Alexandra Christo, author of To Kill a Kingdom and Lesley Glaister, author of Aphra’s Child for my first event which is chaired by Eris Young, Sarah Marie Griffin was going to attend this event as well but she’s unable to, however, it’s still a fantastic lineup!

My other event is…

Samantha Shannon: Priory of the Orange Tree

Samantha Shannon, chaired by Akemi Dawn Bowman! I’m so excited for this one as well! There were so many I wanted to go to and I’m still going to try and head to a couple of more last minute so I can try and score stuff for friends from authors they wanted!

I really hope I can, my friends are amazing and they deserve some goodies from authors!

Seriously, speaking of, go check out Michelle’s blog at Michelle Likes Things because she’s amazing and so is her blog and she made my week this week. That is all.

If you’re a book blogger/reader/writer or just going to Cymera please feel free to say hi to me! [I’ll be the one with the very poofy dark auburn hair and resting bitch face while clutching my copies of Priory and TKAK.

I won’t be able to post about the actual festival until Sunday as Saturday night I’m going out with my friend who is here and the hubs.

Speaking of the hubs, this is a bit off topic but he’s awesome, he found Vol. 2 of George Buchanan’s memoirs, a British diplomat in Russia around the time of the Revolution, I had vol. 1 but didn’t even know how to find vol. 2!

The House on Rosebank Lane eARC Review


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GoodReads Blurb: 

Edinburgh, 1953.

Kirsten Mowat, eighteen years old and with a joyful spring in her step, couldn’t be more in love with her sea-faring sweetheart Duncan Armstrong.

But, seven years later – after a hasty wedding, a twist of lies and wrenching loss – Duncan and Kirsten’s relationship has faded to tatters. When those closest to her turn their backs, Kirsten – alone, with a young family to care for – must gather all her spirit and strength if they are to survive.

From much-loved Millie Gray, The House on Rosebank Lane is an Edinburgh story of families entwined, of sorrow and hopefulness . . . and of a young mother’s love for her children and a transforming quest for happiness.

Millie Gray does a great job giving us a look back at Edinburgh through the 50s toward the 70s, not only that but she gives you a truly heartstring tugging and simultaneously heartwarming tale of not just one woman but the others in her life. At first, I found it difficult to feel sympathy for Kirsten but that soon changed once you saw the radiance of her love as a mother. After that, I may not have approved of everything she did or didn’t do, but I gained respect for our main protagonist. I also greatly enjoyed the look back into the pasts of some of the other characters. Kirsten’s love for a mother isn’t just radiant but it’s real, she makes mistakes and deals with lasting consequences but you never once question the fact that she loved her children, and I think that’s what really drew me to this story, the heart of it all. You wanted to cheer them on, Kirsten, Dixie, Stella, Eddie, Jane, even Jessie! I was not expecting this to make me tear up, but it did and it was a satisfying read that I really didn’t want to put down until I’d finished it.

I would recommend for anyone who reads these sort of heartwarming and tear-inducing tales, Millie Gray has certainly done a brilliant job with it!

The object of this story wasn’t the romance but that did fit in nicely [and a good ‘slow burn’ if I may!] it was about the love of Motherhood, and even a bit of Fatherhood at one part. I can honestly say I don’t usually want to read ‘mushy’ or emotional reads but I wanted to read this one as it was a story located in Edinburgh.

This doesn’t drag on, and I think one of my few complaints besides that I didn’t always like Kirsten (and I wouldn’t say that was a complaint) was that I felt it was unresolved where Stella was concerned but I still greatly enjoyed it. I cried a little, got exasperated, sighed in frustration and smiled at the end. Makes for a pretty great read if you ask me.